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City’s draft Economic Development Strategy puts people at the heart of economic opportunity

City of Newcastle has put its people at the centre of driving the city’s economic opportunities and recovery from COVID-19 in its new Economic Development Strategy.

The strategy has been developed with extensive stakeholder and community engagement that included targeted conversations with population groups most impacted by the COVID-19 economic recession, including young people and international students.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that the development of the Economic Development Strategy, which is designed to position Newcastle as a global city recognised for its innovation and creativity, has been strengthened by feedback from government, industry, business and the broader community, along with expert insights on global megatrends and contemporary economic development.

“As part of our commitment to creating strategies for the community to improve livelihood and wellbeing, we sought feedback through a community-wide survey, held workshops and had conversations with TAFE NSW, University of Newcastle, Hunternet and Hunter Young Professionals.

“By listening to a broad cross-section of our community, we have received valuable insights which contributed to building the new Strategy and vision that puts people at the heart of our city’s economic opportunities.

“We believe that Newcastle and Hunter region’s economic future will be built on the talent, skills and ingenuity of our people. People, not machines or infrastructure, drive innovation and creativity, which leads to new businesses and investment.

“We know that only about 50% of our community has post school qualifications but that the emerging jobs will require additional skills and knowledge. Our strategy is all about building the capacity and capability for our community to be able to be part of emerging economic opportunities.

“Too often our best skilled and talented people feel the need to leave our community, and whilst we understand the need for our youth to ‘spread their wings’, we need to create an economy where there are opportunities for them to return,” Cr Nelmes said.

The vision for Newcastle is to strengthen existing and create new economic opportunities for all by investing in people, their skills, network and investments. The Economic Development Strategy’s delivery program highlights four priority areas including ‘Skilled People’, ‘Innovative People’, ‘City Shaping’ and ‘Vibrant City’ to make the vision a reality.

The delivery program will be inclusive and aims to provide a range of opportunities for locals, as well as attract new talent to the city where there are current or emerging skills gaps.

Newcastle is currently home to a range of economic opportunities which are identified as the ‘Innovation Arc’ within the Economic Development Strategy. The Innovation Arc names key sites including Williamtown, Port of Newcastle, University of Newcastle, Summerhill Waste Management Centre, John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct, and the Broadmeadow Precinct as catalyst areas for new businesses to establish, and new talent to create new opportunities.

The elected Council will vote this evening to place the Economic Development Strategy on public exhibition from Thursday 25 February until Sunday 11 April 2021. Community is encouraged to have their say online at newcastle.nsw.gov.au/YourSay

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